NCSL Autonomous Vehicles Pre-Conference Presentations |Dec. 10, 2019


Autonomous vehicle.

The NCSL Transportation Program convened a pre-conference on autonomous vehicles at the NCSL Capitol Forum held in Phoenix on Dec. 10, 2019. Topics discussed included the impact of driverless vehicles on mobility for people with disabilities, public opinions regarding driverless technology, the confluence of autonomous and electric vehicles, and a discussion of Arizona's regulatory and testing environment. NCSL thanks AAA Arizona, the Reason Foundation and Waymo for sponsoring this meeting. 

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019

Welcome and Introductions

How Will Autonomous Mobility Impact People With Disabilities?  

Driverless technology offers promising potential, but also many questions, for people with disabilities and other transportation-disadvantaged populations. This session discussed state and federal efforts to ensure this emerging technology is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. Attendees learned about the concept of universal design, federal interagency research on accessibility, and ways states can engage the disability community when developing autonomous vehicle policy. This session was hosted in collaboration with the State Exchange on Employment and Disability, an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in its efforts to foster a nationwide workforce more inclusive of people with disabilities.

Moderator: Josh Cunningham, program manager, NCSL Employment, Labor, and Retirement Program

Taking the Public’s Temperature on Driverless Technology

The general public’s awareness of and exposure to driverless vehicle technology is limited, but public opinion will play an important role in shaping policies that govern autonomous vehicle operation.  This session discussed the results from AAA’s annual national survey gauging the public’s opinions of driverless vehicles and how to start a meaningful conversation with policymakers and the public to help ensure the safety and accessibility of autonomous mobility.   

Moderator: Ben Husch, federal affairs counsel, NCSL Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee

  • Michelle Donati-Grayman, government and public affairs lead, AAA Arizona | Presentation
  • Chris Siavrakas, transportation technology project manager, Utah Department of Transportation | Presentation

Federal Autonomous Vehicles Update


  • Ben Husch, federal affairs counsel, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee, NCSL | Presentation

The Confluence of Automated and Electric Vehicles

The electrification of vehicles is happening on a parallel track to automation. This session discussed driverless technology and what technological, behavioral and economic changes policymakers will need to consider to adequately prepare their communities for an electric and driverless future.  

Moderator: Adrian Moore, vice president, Reason Foundation


  • Kevin George Miller, director of public policy, ChargePoint | Presentation
  • Ray Martinez, principal for emerging technology and innovation, Tucson Electric Power | No Presentation

Lunch Session: The Arizona Autonomous Vehicles Experience   

Arizona has emerged as a leader in the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles. This session discussed Waymo's ground-breaking efforts, including a ride-hailing service in the Phoenix metro area. Also, the Arizona Department of Transportation discussed the state’s regulatory model and other on-the-ground testing and research projects, and how to encourage partnerships with industry while ensuring public safety. 

Moderator: Douglas Shinkle, program director, NCSL Transportation Program 

  • Mufaddal Ezzy, head of public policy, Western US States at Waymo | Video Presentation
  • Kevin Biesty, deputy director for policy, Arizona Department of Transportation | No Presentation